UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History to fete Winter Solstice

EUGENE, Ore. — (Dec. 6, 2013) — The Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon will host "The Gift of Storytelling" — its 12th annual Winter Solstice Celebration — on Friday, Dec. 13. The event will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the museum, 1680 E. 15th Ave., near Hayward Field. Admission is free with a non-perishable food donation.

Museum of Natural and Cultural HistoryThe celebration, hosted in partnership with FOOD for Lane County and Eugene Weekly, is a secular and multicultural event welcoming all members of the public. Each year, it draws hundreds of people of all ages to enjoy live performances, crafts and activities.  

"The Winter Solstice event celebrates our community's diversity as well as its collective heritage," said Jon Erlandson, the museum's executive director. "It's my favorite event of the year, and a great example of how museums contribute to the cultural fabric of their communities."

This year's celebration, being held a week ahead of this year's Winter Solstice official date, will include activities throughout the museum and at the adjacent Many Nations Longhouse. The event will showcase diverse forms of storytelling.

"Stories come in many forms, from the oral tradition embodied in Zimbabwean music to the narrative movement of Hawaiian hula," said Lauren Willis, the museum's community education coordinator. "The celebration honors the different ways that stories are passed from one generation to the next."

In addition to marimba, hula and other performances, the evening will include a bookmaking activity with the Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, a non-profit organization in Eugene; basket-weaving demonstrations by Donna Crispin, Sheila Tasker and Aimee Yogi; face-painting and puppet-making activities for children; and a raffle in the museum store. Food will be available for purchase from the local gourmet sandwich cart Sammitch. New museum memberships will be offered at half-price during the event.

During the event, the museum will host a food-collection drive in partnership with FOOD for Lane County. Each attendee who brings a non-perishable food item will be admitted free. Adult admission is otherwise $5.

"More than one in three Lane County residents is eligible for emergency food assistance, and non-perishable food items generated by this drive will play an important role in helping to maintain our food supply," said Beverlee Hughes, FOOD for Lane County's executive director.

Following the celebration, the museum store, Past and Presents, will host its annual Holiday Open House Weekend, offering free admission to the museum and special holiday discounts on non-consignment items throughout the store. The open house runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15.

"The inventory at Past and Presents emphasizes local and Native Northwest artists and authors," said Judi Pruitt, head of visitor and member services at the museum. "It's the perfect holiday shopping spot for those who want their gift purchases to support the local community."

About the Museum of Natural and Cultural History
The mission of the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History is to protect significant collections, enhance knowledge, and encourage stewardship of human and natural history through research, preservation, and education. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 1680 E. 15th Ave., near Hayward Field. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths and seniors, and $10 for families (two adults and up to four youths). For more information call 541-346-3024.

Media Contact: Kristin Strommer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, kstromme@uoregon.edu, 541-346-5083

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